Maryland father charged in boy’s death in hot car

LEXINGTON PARK, Md. (AP) – A father forgot to drop his 17-month-old son off at day care at the Maryland naval base where he works and left the toddler in his car seat for more than 6 hours, where the boy died in scorching midday heat, authorities said Thursday.

John Junek, 40, told investigators he dropped off his 4-year-old son at preschool Wednesday morning and was supposed to take his younger son to daycare at the Patuxent River Naval Air Station, according to a charging document filed in federal court. Instead, he went straight to his office and didn’t notice his son in the rear-facing car seat even when he used the car later to go to a midday meeting, the document said.

Junek was charged with involuntary manslaughter. During a hearing Thursday afternoon, a judge released him to the custody of his parents, who live near his home in Leonardtown.

Junek showed little emotion as he said “Yes, your honor,” when asked whether he understood his rights.

“He’s devastated right now, grieving along with the rest of his family,” said Megan Coleman, one of his attorneys.